A to Z Gaming: Scattergories

We rushed to come up with unique words and phrases in specific categories in Scattergories, the next game in our A-Z game shelf play-through.

Red box cover with the words "The Game of Scattergories." Above that is a logo in a black square with a stylized profile of a head with confetti coming out of the top

Players: 2-6
Time: 30 Minutes
Designers: (Uncredited)
Artists: (Uncredited)
Publisher: Hasbro

Scattergories is a party game where players are writing down words and phrases related to a list of categories over three rounds. Each round the words they choose must start with a single letter of the alphabet, which comes from a giant alphabet die. The goal is to write doen things that are unique from others. Whoever has the most unique answers over those three rounds will win.

Game play

Scattergories is set up with each player getting a player folder and a pencil. They collectively decide on a list of categories and tuck that one into their folder so they can see the list on the left side. The dice mat, die, and timer are laid out on the table, and then players are ready.

The game is played over three rounds. Each round, the die is rolled to determine a letter of the alphabet, and then the timer is started. During the three minutes until the timer goes off, each player will try to write down a word or phrase that begins with the letter that was on the die for as many of the categories as they can.

Once the three minutes are up, players go down the list of categories and tell each other what they’ve written. If any players have the same answer as another player, they cross that answer off. If their answer is unique, they circle it. Their score for the round is the number of circled answers.

To start a new round, the timer is re-set and the alphabet die is rolled to get a new letter. The categories stay the same. At the end of three rounds, the player with the most total points, wins.

My Thoughts

This is a game I’ve had since I was a kid — in fact, I have the very copy that we had in my house growing up. There’s even an expansions with additional category lists in the box. Whenever my family came to stay with us for Christmas or other occasions, we would pull out games, and this was a fav.

I haven’t played it in years, so it was fun to bring it out again. It’s much more fun with a bunch of players, since it forces you to be more creative in your answers, but also you’re not sure if someone is going to complain about your answer (do you really gripe during gym class? I say yes!). It’s fun for a quick, easy game with a crowd.

It was a trip to pull this box out again. There were still answer sheets that were half-filled from my family. I was able to recognize my handwriting and some other family members … some who are no longer with us. While bittersweet, it was fun to remember those times many years ago.

Three Quick Questions

How is it as a 2-player game? Scattergories is just okay at two. To get more of the interaction and laughter, it’s better with more players.

How about the art and component quality? The player folders were pretty worn in my copy, but that’s not too bad for being over 30 years old. I was also impressed that, at least those early editions, came with a mat to roll the big, chunky die on, so that you wouldn’t damage your table.

Will this stay in my collection? Yes, this one would be hard to let go, especially with all the history in that box. And, now that we’ve rediscovered how fun it is, it may even hit the table now and then.

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